Last night was a step in the wrong direction for the Patriots in their 24-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills at home. The Bills maintained the lead from the start of the 2nd quarter through to the final second of the game. The Patriots pass rush had a pretty decent day including 2 sacks and several hurries in the first half, but Josh Allen was able to work his magic and still put on a show throwing two touchdowns in great form. The Bills rushing game made the difference as they continuously ran for small chunks to deflate the defense and continue long drives. The Pats' offense fell off from their Thanksgiving performance and just couldn't string together drives going 3-12 on first downs and barely 20 minutes of possession time.
The Bills are a great football team there's no doubt about it. They were the odds-on favorite to won the Super Bowl before the season started and while they've had a tough go in the past three weeks, they're easily a top-5 team in this league. That being said, this is a divisional rivalry for the Patriots that lately has not been competitive, giving the Bills 5 wins in their last 6 matchups ever since the departure of Tom Brady.
This was a game that from a casual fan, went exactly as it should've. The Patriots are a .500 team this year and the Bills are a Super Bowl contender. For the fanatics out there though, this game could've easily been closer or went the opposite way considering each team's previous 4 games. The Bills rode a 2-game win streak into this one but against bad teams in nail-biters. They had lost two previous to the Vikings and Jets and their star QB Josh Allen has been dealing with a nagging elbow injury as of late. The Patriots on the other hand have been trending upwards. With a razor close battle with the Vikings that produced their best offensive performance in over a year and their defense seemingly getting better as the year went on, the Pats looked at this matchup as a prove it-game as to why they should be considered elite.
The Patriots were just outclassed in this game. They didn't turn the ball over but they had to punt the ball 6 times and only had the ball for barely over 1/3 of the game time. Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs proved lethal with 7 receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown. Josh Allen even made a highlight reel throw as he threw a touchdown pass across his body while elevating his body in the air while out of bounds, over two defenders to a falling Gabe Davis for 6. The play happened early in the second quarter and seemed to deflate the Pats.
The Patriots special teams struggles also continued as Nick Folk missed a "gimme field goal" at the end of the 1st half as his 48-yard attempt bounced off the crossbar and fell to the turf. For a unit that started the year off stronger than anyone, the special teams' performances has been brutal over the past three weeks, going 6-of-9 for field goals, and letting up a kick return for a touchdown last week.
Mac Jones has extended his no-interception streak to 4 games which is impressive, but his ability to prevent turnovers has come with a price. Jones hasn't made many plays with his arms over these games and has been a very check-down heavy quarterback throwing only 4 touchdowns. His averages over these last 4 games are 242.5 yards per game, 1 touchdown per game with 0 interceptions on 68.4 % completion percentage and 10.2 yards per completion. However, the game he had on Thanksgiving against the Vikings was so impressive it can be marked as an outlier. It's arguably the best game Jones has ever had in the NFL, throwing for 382 yards, 2 touchdowns on 72% completions. When factoring that game out, all of a sudden he's looking at averages in that span drop to 147 yards per game with .5 touchdowns on 70 % completions and 9 yards per completion.
The Patriots will attempt not to fall under the .500 mark for the second time this season as they travel to Arizona next week. The Cardinals offense is very explosive led by the dynamic duo of Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins. This is a very winnable game for the Patriots however as the Cardinals defense ranks 31st in points against. This game will likely be one of the most high-scoring games of the season.
It is a must win for the once again, bottom-dwellers of the AFC East.
Check out fansonlysportz.com for more sports media content posted daily.
Make sure to stay tuned as we continue coverage of the New England Patriots and the 2022-23 NFL season.